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09/06 – Greek crisis overshadows the G7 summit

The Greek debt repayment and negotiations with its creditors continue to draw wide coverage in European media. Several media report that the Greek crisis overshadowed the Group of Seven agenda.

According to Le Monde, while Climate was expected to be the main topic debated in the summit, President Juncker and US President Barack Obama shone the spotlight on Greece. Some media continue to comment on President Juncker’s dissatisfaction towards Greece, as the country pledged to send its proposals by Sunday, but he never received them.

Le Monde and El Pais write that the American President urged Europe not to create “undue volatility” on the markets by lingering on the Greek issue. Le Figaro, Sole 24 Ore, and Mega TV report that German Chancellor Angela Merkel once again warned, during the summit, that time is running out for a deal to keep Greece in the eurozone. Kathimerini,, and Deutschlandfunk report that Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis met his German counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble in Berlin yesterday. While quotes Yanis Varoufakis stating that the dialogue, which aimed at de-escalating the situation, was long and productive, Kathimerini reports that there was complete divergence of opinions between the two officials.

In an interview with Der Tagesspiegel, referred to by several media, Varoufakis clarifies that he does not intend to negotiate with Germany but only with the Institutions. He added that the country’s creditors are trying to sabotage the negotiations despite the fact that Greece already made “great concessions,” notably by implementing a measure on VAT and the primary surplus.

In an interview with ARD, President Juncker said that he always “attempted to deal with Greece respectfully,” since it is not about the Greek government but about the Greek people. “I attempted to build bridges, however, I am still waiting for the Greek part of the bridge,” he added. Commission Spokesman Margaritis Schinas added to that statement that the institutions’ proposal to Greece is a good basis for discussion, Politis writes.

On Wednesday, Greece’s representatives will meet again with President Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in Brussels. In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras maintains that on Wednesday Greece will present a document listing the areas of agreement with the creditors’ proposal as well as alternative proposals. All Greek media extensively report that the Greek government has been granted a 48-hour deadline to deliver its new, alternative proposals.

Italian MEP Barbara Spinelli writes in Fatto Quotidiano that Greece was used as a guinea pig to test an austerity therapy imposed by an oligarchic power, and that the test failed. In an op-ed published in The International New York Times, Roger Cohen writes that Greece will never be able to repay its debts, no matter how many deals with creditors are pulled out of a hat, adding that if a deal is reached with Greece, it will only be the prelude to the next crisis.

In an article published in Rzeczpospolita, ex deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister in Poland, Grzegorz Kołodko, is of the same opinion, as he comments that Greece will never repay its entire debt, and its creditors should stop acting as if the opposite were true.


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